Monday, January 30, 2017

The Transmuted Child, by Michael Reid

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(SF) The Erkess gave humanity lots of benefits, but one of their gifts makes human children go mad. Esmonde goes to the Erkess homeworld to beg them for a cure. (4,925 words; Time: 16m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"The Transmuted Child," by (edited by Andy Cox), appeared in issue 268, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Esmonde's sacrifice enables the Erkess to actually understand the real problem. Perhaps there will be a solution for the children on Earth too.

It was interesting that the Senate wasn't a thing you visited--it was a thing that visited you. It was also interesting that the Erkess actually had a religion, and it was a form of Buddhism.

Con: Much of the story makes no sense. You wouldn't handcuff an adult to an insane child. It's not at all clear what the ending means. Is the new child going to cure the other kids? Be a liaison to the Erkess? Destroy the world?

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 268)
Michael Reid Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I got the impression that the new Esmonde was going to either bring knowledge of the cure back to Earth for the other kids or lead them to the Erkess homeworld to be cured. I think it's meant to be a parallel with Dao's experience in the climactic scene. Dao becomes a bodhisattva, a guide for the Erkess on the path to enlightment and the attendant relief of suffering. And Esmonde becomes a guide to the afflicted children to the relief of their current suffering. So they each become guides in a different way.

    1. I like that interpretation! (Although it doesn't help with the handcuffs.) :-)